Condenser mics are very useful to a variety of artists and musicians, so whether you’re recording vocals, classical music at a concert hall or a transmitting a podcast live from your bedroom, we help you find the best condenser mic without breaking the bank.
Take This into Consideration
Before you select a microphone, here are a few things to consider:
- Price. Our list below will highlight mics around the $200 level (max).
- Condenser Mic vs. Dynamic Mic
- Dynamic Mic. Once sound enters the mic, it’s converted into electrical energy. The sound vibrates a thin diaphragm inside, which is attached to a copper coil, and the coil will then move up and down thus creating an electric current.
You typically see singers or speakers using these on stage.
- Condenser Mic. For studio recording, a condenser mic is best. It uses a capacitor inside to convert sound waves into electrical energy. These are much more sensitive to loud sounds than dynamic mics.
We’ll help you find the best condenser mic on our list below.
Top 6 Condenser Microphones Overview
The shape of the microphone’s polar pattern will determine the amount of feedback that it picks up.
You’ll see cardioid microphones, like numbers two and five on our list above, the “cardioid” referring to the shape of the microphone’s polar pattern. These pick up sound directly in front of them and reject sounds from other directions: great for vocals and speech.
You’ll also find hyper-cardioid and super-cardioid microphones. Their polar patterns are slightly different, which changes the way they pick up sound.
How does the microphone respond to different frequencies that are introduced to it?
The answer can be mapped out on a frequency response chart, which will show us the range of sound that a microphone can reproduce as well as how sensitive it is within that range.
- Flat Response. This means that the microphone is equally sensitive to all frequencies. These are great for acoustic instruments, orchestras or vocal groups.
- Shaped Response. These are more sensitive to some frequency waves than others. Mics with sensitivity to upper/mid-ranges add clarity to vocals, guitar amps or drums.
Something with decreased sensitivity to low frequencies will reduce the amount of background noise.
Choosing the Right Condenser Mic
As you sift through the condenser mic options, here are a few tips that will help you choose the right one:
- Drums. For drums, a cardioid or super-cardioid condenser mic with a shaped frequency is great.
- Vocals. For singing on stage, cardioid mic is great. It won’t pick up as much ambient sound and for smaller, intimate spaces, consider a super-cardioid microphone.
- Acoustic Guitar. A cardioid condenser mic with a flat frequency response will give the guitar a smooth, natural and to help capture the full range of the guitar’s tones.
- Guitar/Bass Amps. Once again, cardioid condenser is the way to go. Opt for one with a shaped frequency response to add brightness to the overall sound.
Top 3 Best Condenser Mic Reviews
This is one of the best mics on our list in terms of quality and price.
It accommodates cardioid and omnidirectional frequency response patterns, making it useful for a variety of recording needs.
It comes with a shock mount, metal case and bass cut filter switch to help you reduce wind or other low frequency noises. As a high-end entry level product, this is an excellent choice for vocalists or those with acoustic instruments.
If you need a beater studio mic that you don’t feel bad about treating roughly but that still produces decent sound, try the MXL 770.
It will provide you with warm sound and clarity at the top (cardioid polar pattern), it has a FET preamp for low noise and high output and works well for both single and multi-voice recordings. Use it for piano or strings, as well.
It’s affordable, so try it out!
This versatile mic offers you four polar pattern modes to choose from: stereo for recording acoustic guitar or choirs; cardioid for voice-overs and instruments; omnidirectional to pick up sound evenly from all directions (podcasts or conference calls); bi-directional when you are recording a duet or two-person interview.
It’s easy to set up, use and is one of the most popular choices on the market today.